Tag Archives: Coronavirus

Why They’re Called ‘Wet Markets’ — And What Health Risks They Might Pose

Posted on by

Why They’re Called ‘Wet Markets’ — And What Health Risks They Might Pose

Jan 31, 2020
Originally published on February 8, 2020 6:35 am

A “wet market” in Wuhan, China, is catching the blame as the probable source of the current coronavirus outbreak that’s sweeping the globe.

Patients who came down with disease at the end of December all had connections to the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan China. The complex of stalls selling live fish, meat and wild animals is known in the region as a “wet market.” Researchers believe the new virus probably mutated from a coronavirus common in animals and jumped over to humans in the Wuhan bazaar.

I visited the Tai Po wet market in Hong Kong, and it’s quite obvious why the term “wet” is used. Live fish in open tubs splash water all over the floor. The countertops of the stalls are red with blood as fish are gutted and filleted right in front of the customers’ eyes. Live turtles and crustaceans climb over each other in boxes. Melting ice adds to the slush on the floor. There’s lots of water, blood, fish scales and chicken guts. Things are wet.

At the Tai Po market, a woman who runs a shellfish stall — she only wants to give her name as Mrs. Wong — says people blame wet markets for spreading disease. But she says that’s not fair. Like just about everyone else in the market. Wong is wearing a surgical face mask because of the coronavirus outbreak. She’s heard about the links between the wet market in Wuhan, China, and the coronavirus but doesn’t think something like that would happen in Hong Kong.

“It’s much cleaner in the Hong Kong markets. It’s so different from what’s happening in mainland China,” she says. “When I go to mainland China and I’m trying to eat something, I’m concerned about what’s in the food.”

Meanwhile, this kind of market is not just an Asian phenomenon. There are similar markets all over the world — places where fish, poultry and other animals are slaughtered and butchered right on the premises.

But researchers of zoonotic diseases — diseases that jump from animals to humans – pinpoint the wet markets in mainland China as particularly problematic for several reasons. First, these markets often have many different kinds of animals – some wild, some domesticated but not necessarily native to that part of Asia. The stress of captivity in these chaotic markets weakens the animals’ immune systems and creates an environment where viruses from different species can mingle, swap bits of their genetic code and spread from one species to another, according to biologist Kevin Olival, vice president for research at the EcoHealth Alliance. When that happens, occasionally a new strain of an animal virus gets a foothold in humans and an outbreak like this current coronavirus erupts.

The Tai Po market in Hong Kong does have some live animals besides the seafood but the selection is rather boring compared to the exotic assortment of snakes, mammals and birds on offer in some markets in mainland China. They’re known to sell animals such as Himalayan palm civets, raccoon dogs, wild boars and cobras.

The only live birds in Tai Po are chickens, which are kept behind the butchered pork section of the market.

Chan Shu Chung has been selling chicken here for more than 10 years. He says business is really good right now because the price of pork — his main competition — is through the roof. Pork is in short supply due to trade tensions between China and the U.S. and a recent bout of swine flu.

A chicken for sale at the Tai Po market in Hong Kong. Customers say that buying chickens that are slaughtered on the spot makes them feel that they’re getting meat from fresh, healthy birds.
Jason Beaubien / NPR

So people are buying more chicken. Customers can select a live bird from Chung’s cages. Chung pulls them out by their feet, holds them upside down to show off their plump breasts. If the customer is happy with the bird, Chung puts a plastic tag with a number on the chicken’s foot. He gives the customer a matching tag, sort of like a coat check. Fifteen minutes later the shopper can come back and pick up the chicken meat.

Chung says he and his colleagues do their best to keep the area clean. They wash down the stalls regularly and disinfect the countertops to stop germs from spreading.

Chung, however, is one of the few people in the market who is not wearing a face mask. Face masks have become so common in Hong Kong since the coronavirus outbreak started that pharmacies across the city are sold out of them.

Chung says he isn’t afraid of this new coronavirus. He always gets his annual flu shot so he believes he’s protected against this new disease, even though scientists say the flu shot will not protect people against this new coronavirus.

Chung adds confidently that he’s even immune to SARS — for which there also is no commercially available vaccine.

But he does keep his chicken stalls incredibly clean, which public health officials say is one important step in stopping the spread of diseases. So maybe he’s on to something.

: 2/07/20

An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled the name of the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China as Hunan.

Criticism of the Chinese government’s handling of coronavirus is not racism

Posted on by

Criticism of the Chinese government’s handling of coronavirus is not racism

Marcus Kolga: By wrapping themselves in ethno-nationalist rhetoric, the Chinese Communist Party often claims that a critique of their actions is equivalent to a critique of their people—a tried and true tactic in the authoritarian playbook

Marcus Kolga is a digital communications strategist and expert on foreign disinformation. He is a Senior Fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s Centre for Advancing Canada’s Interests Abroad.

When we criticize the actions of governments run by autocrats and dictators, like those in Russia and China, we must bear in mind that it is not the citizens who are responsible for their government’s abuse and negligence; they are in fact, the greatest victims of it.

For instance, the Chinese people bear no responsibility for their government’s illegitimate imprisonment of Canadians Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor and Hussein Celil. It is also the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) criminal negligence that directly contributed to the mass outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, and the ensuing pandemic we face today. In fact, I very much doubt the families of China’s COVID-19 victims are celebrating their government’s actions today.

When we criticize the actions of these governments, we must be very specific and accurate in directing our criticism towards those who are in power. In the case of China, it is the Communist Party that holds exclusive decision-making power, and in Russia, the Putin regime. In both cases, the people of these nations have no meaningful say in the decision-making process of their governments, and face arrest and imprisonment for criticizing them.

MORE: When will the Chinese government be held accountable for the spread of coronavirus?

By generalizing our disapproval and outrage towards the citizens of these regimes, we risk hurting and stigmatizing these communities, and that plays directly into the disinformation warfare tactics that such regimes are engaged in against the Western world, including accusations of “racism.”

Authoritarian regimes frequently label foreign criticism of their policies as “racist” as a way to delegitimize them and polarize debate. By wrapping themselves in ethno-nationalist rhetoric, these regimes often claim that a critique of their actions is equivalent to a critique of the people itself; this heightens the need to be precise with our language and aware of the propaganda efforts of authoritarian regimes. It’s a tried and true tactic in the authoritarian playbook.

China’s former ambassador to Canada, Lu Shaye, accused the Canadian government of “white supremacy” last year, when Canada demanded the release of its citizens who had been arbitrarily detained in China, in retaliation after Canada complied with a U.S. extradition request for Huawei CEO Meng Wanzhou.

MORE: China kidnapped two Canadians. What will it take to free them?

Last week, the E.U. published a report that warned Vladimir Putin is seeking to use the COVID-19 pandemic to destabilize Western nations and undermine our alliances. The report states that the Russian government’s cynical disinformation attack is designed to “aggravate the public health crisis in Western countries, specifically by undermining public trust in national health care systems, thus preventing an effective response to the outbreak.”

In the apparent absence of any evidence that would disprove the E.U. claim, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Pskov accused the E.U. of “Russophobia” in an effort to intimidate European policy-makers, critics and media into silence.

The same tactic has been used by the Russian government to discredit Canadian political leaders, like Chrystia Freeland, whose Ukrainian background has been cited as tainting her judgment. Putin critics, like myself, have also been labelledRussophobic” for advocating for Canadian Magnitsky human rights legislation, a law that was lauded as the most pro-Russian measure that any Western government could take, according to assassinated Russian pro-democracy opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov.

Yet the concerns of Canadians who are worried about ethnic communities being stigmatized by the global pandemic must not be dismissed either. As the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin has pointed out, President Trump’s recent reference to COVID-19 being a “Chinese virus” is “simplistic but technically accurate,” and plays into the hands of Chinese Communist Party propagandists, who in turn use this to provoke anti-Trump and anti-Western sentiments.

Leading U.S.-based Chinese human rights activist Jianli Yang told me that he “may not like the term ‘Chinese virus’ that President Trump has been using in the past few days,” but he doesn’t believe “it is intended by him for any racist meaning.” He believes that Trump was using the term to counter the Chinese government’s attempts to “divert responsibility for its mishandling of the outbreak which has resulted in this global pandemic.”

Yang believes that “there should be and must be a moment when all, victimized individuals and countries, come together to hold the CCP regime accountable.”

Here in Canada, we can be fairly certain that our governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, at all three levels of government, have been shaped by our sensitivity to potential accusations of racism by Chinese government propaganda. Why else did Canada refrain from limiting travel from Hubei and China, only to close off virtually all foreign travel mere weeks later?

Canada is not alone in facing such foul accusations.

In Sweden, a former, long-serving Swedish MP, Gunnar Hökmark, wrote in a recent opinion piece that “China’s leaders should apologize to the world for epidemics coming from China because of the dictatorship’s failure to address food safety, animal standards, and because its repression of truth and the freedom of its own citizens.” China’s ambassador to Sweden Gui Congyou condemned the statement and accused Hökmark of “stigmatizing” China. China’s ambassador also went on to criticize Hökmark, his colleague Patrik Oksanen and their think tank, the Stockholm Free World Forum, for being part of an “anti-China political machine” and for “attacking, slandering and stigmatizing China.”

Canadians and our government must take great care to avoid generalizations that risk stigmatizing Canadians of Chinese heritage, or any other community, whose governments engage in similar repressive behaviour, including the Russian and Iranian regimes. However, we must also be alert to regime propagandists who seek to dismiss and silence legitimate criticism of their actions when they smear critics with false accusations of “racism.”

As Jianli Yang underlined for me, “the Chinese Communist regime is not justified in accusing anyone of racism, who criticize its early-stage covering up of the COVID-19 outbreak, and the latest information (disinformation) war against other countries.”

Rebel NewsPOLITICALLY CORRECT TRUDEAU’S RESPONSE TO THE WUHAN VIRUS — ILLEGALS CONTINUE TO STREAM ACROSS THE BORDER AT ROXHAM ROAD & CHINESE CONTINUE TO POUR IN FROM ASIA

Posted on by

Rebel NewsPOLITICALLY CORRECT TRUDEAU’S RESPONSE TO THE WUHAN VIRUS — ILLEGALS CONTINUE TO STREAM ACROSS THE BORDER AT ROXHAM ROAD & CHINESE CONTINUE TO POUR IN FROM ASIA
 
POLITICALLY CORRECT TRUDEAU’S RESPONSE TO THE WUHAN VIRUS — ILLEGALS CONTINUE TO STREAM ACROSS THE BORDER AT ROXHAM ROAD & CHINESE CONTINUE TO POUR IN FROM ASIA

Canada is supposed to be on lock-down because of the global coronavirus pandemic — but did you know that unvetted flights are still arriving from China, we are doing less screening than at airports in Pakistan, and mask-wearing illegals are just walking into Canada at the Roxham Road checkpoint?

Justin Trudeau and his health minister Patty Hajdu are just so bad, so slow, so indecisive, so incompetent, I can’t understand it. It’s almost as if they want Canada to become infected by the coronavirus. But you wouldn’t know it if you only trusted the Trudeau-friendly mainstream media to deliver the news.

Well, at Rebel News, we’re still working tirelessly to tell the other side of the story. In this extended highlight from my nightly show, The Ezra Levant Show — I have two exceptional clips to show you today — I have dissected the early timeline and spread of the novel coronavirus and tracked it right down to Trudeau’s fake entry ban — check it out:

And in this second extended highlight from my show, expert analyst and lawyer Manny Montenegrino called in from his home in Ottawa to discuss if victims can actually sue China for its gross negligence in unleashing a deadly pandemic on the world. I think Manny is on the money, and you won’t want to miss it!

So, what do you think? Do you want to see more of myself and Manny? If so, you’ll just have to become a subscriber of Rebel News Plus.

We don’t receive billions of dollars per year to pay for our journalism like the CBC, so we have to rely on our generous viewers to keep going, and offering Rebel News Plus subscriptions is a fantastic way for you to support our work.

As a subscriber, you will receive premium access to all of our shows, such as The Ezra Levant ShowThe Gunn Show with Sheila Gunn Reid, and Rebel Roundup with David Menzies.

If you’re in self-isolation and you’re looking for something to help pass the time, I can’t think of a better fix — and it’s only $8/month or $80/year!

Click here to su

JUST LIKE SARS, CORONA VIRUS OUTBREAK DUE TO FILTHY FOOD MARKETS & HABITS IN CHINA

Posted on by

JUST LIKE SARS, CORONA VIRUS OUTBREAK DUE TO FILTHY FOOD MARKETS & HABITS IN CHINA

Food market at centre of deadly coronavirus outbreak admits selling live koalas, snakes, rats and wolvesFocus: Health Minister David Clark says they are ‘alert but not alarmed’ over the deadly Coronavirus. Video / Mark Mitchell. Photos / Getty / AP

NZ Herald

The Chinese food market at the centre of the deadly Sars-like virus outbreak has claimed they sold live koalas, snakes, rats and wolf pups to locals to eat.

The Huanan Seafood market in Wuhan in China is under investigation with officials believing the coronavirus originated from a wild animal that was sold at the venue.

So far the highly-contagious virus has killed 17 people and infected hundreds around Asia.

According to the South China Morning Post, the market’s advertising board had live foxes, crocodiles, wolf puppies, salamanders, snakes, rats, peacocks, porcupines and koalas.

___________________________________________________________________________________-

chinese market dogs
Is Another Black Death on the Way?
by Eric Margolis – January 25, 2020

Plagues from the east are nothing new. The Black Death and other epidemics arrived in Europe from China during the 1300’s, killing a large percentage of its population. Much of this pestilence came from rats that stowed away on merchant ships coming from the east.

At the end of World War I, another pandemic, wrongly called the Spanish flu, killed an estimated 18 to 50 million people in Europe and North America.

Seventeen years after the SARS virus killed some 800 people in China and Canada and terrified the entire world, a new plague threatens the West: the Wuhan Coronavirus.

Officially named 2019-nCoV, the new virus has so far infected over 800 people in China. This latest plague erupted in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, population 11 million, which is located on the Yangtze River and is an important hub for national communications.

Like SARS, the Wuhan virus is believed to have come from a live animal market that specializes in exotic animals from the Himalayas or China’s remote mountain regions. Serving exotic animals at dinner parties is a big status symbol in China. Sometimes they are even served while still alive. Dog meat is a favorite in northern China.

SARS was believed to have come from civet cats. As a result, thousands of these felines were brutally killed. But it was later determined the virus originated from bats, then spread to other captive animals. Bat soup is another Chinese delicacy.

Keeping large numbers of captive animals crammed together in cages with poor ventilation and no cleaning is an ideal vector for viral diseases. Each year, China consumes 730 million pigs. Fifty percent of China’s factory farmed pigs have so far contracted lethal swine flu. Rising living standards have boosted demand for pork.

I have seen how China raises and transports pigs. It’s a nightmare of brutality and inhuman behavior. No wonder so many of these intelligent sensitive animals fall ill and die. Swine fever could be payback for China’s terrible cruelty to pigs.

And it’s not just China. Pigs in North America are treated almost as badly. A lady where I live was actually jailed and prosecuted for having given water to a truckload of thirsty, starving, terrified pigs on the way to the slaughterhouse.

In North America, animals destined for slaughter are packed together and then dosed with heavy antibiotics to combat communicable diseases from over-crowding and mistreatment. These same antibiotics then enter our food chain, causing us ever growing viral resistance.

When the SARS epidemic erupted in South China 17 years ago, the Chinese communist party tried to hush up the crisis, allowing infected people to travel to North America and Europe.

This time, China did the right thing by jumping hard on the epidemic: shutting down all air, sea and land communications with the greater Wuhan region and 14 smaller cities – right in the middle of China’s huge new year celebrations when over 400 million people return to their homes. The epidemic could not have come at a worse time.

Some Wuhan residents have already flown to other parts of Asia and North America. Simply checking incoming air travellers for fever will not prevent the virus from spreading or identify passengers who have contracted and are developing the illness.

A better solution would be to quarantine all people arriving from Central China and even bar airlines coming from there until we better understand the new virus. We stop so-called ‘terrorists’ and Muslims from flying to our shores. Why not potentially infective people?

China must also be pressed to cease its dangerous, inhumane trade in exotic wild animals and urged to treat all animals with humanity and care. China is a major cause of species loss. Aside from a few brave animal rights groups, there is very little consciousness of our animal neighbors in China nor understanding that animals are sentient beings with emotions similar to those of humans. The Chinese are one of the most intelligent people on earth. Yet when it comes to animals, all they see is walking food.

As I’ve seen on my travels across China, it has made great strides in public sanitation and cleanliness as well as planting trees. Now, it’s time to stop abusing animals or the plagues will keep coming.